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Suicide prevention claims not yet born out by reality

Minister's suicide prevention claims not yet born out by reality

“Fine words, a nice PR campaign, but where’s the changes, and where’s the action?” was the response from the family of Nicky Stevens to yesterday’s Ministerial statement on mental health issues.

Nicky Stevens disappeared from Waikato DHB’s Henry Bennett Centre on March 9th this year, and was found drowned in the nearby Waikato River three days later.

Despite being a known high suicide risk, he had been let out of the Centre unsupervised.

Stevens’ father Dave Macpherson said “its been 210 days since Nicky’s death, and we have had not one answer as to what happened and not one enquiry yet started by the Minister’s health sector.”

“As we have come to realise, talk is cheap in the mental health sector, and Minister Coleman – who has refused to meet with our family – is continuing to spout the right words while ignoring changes that need making.”

“Those responsible for running it have invested heavily in continuing things just the way they are, and are not about to admit mistakes are being made, and repeated, right around the country.”

“One thing we know is that families of people with mental health illness issues are vital to the health and wellbeing of their loved ones, but continue to be excluded from their treatment, care and decision-making processes,” he said.

“Where is the Minister’s plan to involve families in dealing with mental illness?”

“Where is the Minister’s acceptance that his highly-paid clinicians and administrators do not have all the answers?”

“Where is the Minister’s public acknowledgement that a record 569 suicides in the last year shows the current mental health system is failing?”


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